Día de Los Muertos at The National Museum of the American Indian

Some people wouldn’t think that you can find Latin American art and culture at a museum for American Indians, but you can because Latin American culture is a mix of indigenous and Spanish culture. So, until Washington D.C. builds the much needed National Museum of The American Latino, this is a good place to look for a little Latinidad.

While the American Indian museum will have special events specifically for Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), they have many things on display year round.

“Day of the Dead rituals date back thousands of years. Early Mesoamerican peoples saw death as a continuation of life. They believed deceased members of their family could return to them during a month long celebration in late summer.

Spanish colonizers tried and failed to put an end to the ritual. Instead, to integrate it into Christian tradition, they moved its observance to the first two days of November: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.”

-Printed on a plaque at The National Museum of the American Indian

These women were sewing and I didn’t want to disturb them by snapping photos too closely or interrupt them by asking questions, so I’m not sure of their ethnicity, but their colorful embroidery reminded me very much of Latin America.

Also on display…

Posted on October 22, 2010, in art, celebration, crafts, Culture, history, Latinidad and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. The calaveras and embroidery are beautiful. Here in the LA area there are a number of Muertos events, many which begin this weekend. I am planning on attending one of the larger events, next Saturday. http://ladayofthedead.com/event_info.html
    I am looking forward to it. I may even make myself up as a calavera.

    • @ LifeWellBlended – Yes, you have access to some pretty awesome events out there. Enjoy and take plenty of photos!

  2. I was in Mexico City on Día de los Muertos two years ago and I remember visiting the National Cemetary and seeing families sitting on graves, singing and playing music. Awkward, for a Western European girl, but I can’t help but thinking their way of dealing with death is much more… freeing.
    Love the embroidery!

    • @ Lies – It took me awhile to warm up to Día de Los Muertos, too. It seems a little creepy when you aren’t raised in the culture – but I’ve really grown to love it – and I agree that this way of dealing with death is nice.

  3. I LOVE Día de los Muertos!! I’m actually doing a Day of the Dead giveaway next week ;)

    • I love those skulls, you really make us realize what we have around our area and never take time or advantage to go to these places. I grew up in DC and thought I’ve seen everything. You have made me realize to take time and start exploring these places again. Thank you.

      • @ Rudy – I’m glad I helped you appreciate anew some of the things in our area. For me it is a necessity to find culture, (especially Latinidad), even in the tiniest doses, wherever I go. I crave it as much as the air we breathe – Maybe I wouldn’t die without it, but life would certainly be much more boring!

    • @ MJ – Awesome! Feel free to come by here and leave a link in comments when you’re giveaway is up. I’m sure it’s something my readers would be really excited about!

  4. oooh, thanks for posting this — i did not know! i’ll have to plan a trip this weekend and take the toddler (who has been to this museum and was fascinated by the drummers, according to my husband).

  1. Pingback: Washington DC To Do -- A City Guide: Latinland USA

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